Sipping the Tea.

Sipping the Tea.

Postby catch » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:40 am

"So I said i would not tell, but of course I would tell you, Miss Ellie. We are such good friends for so many years now, and I feel if I cannot tell anyone that I should simply burst. It is a matter of magic, you see."

"Magic, my dear! There hasn't been anything to be done with Magic since the Cursed Lady, and for good reason. But of course you can trust me to keep any secret."

"And well do I know it, Miss Ellie. Why I, more than anyone, remember how awful that Summer was. Thirty years have I been running my little tea house, thirty years, quietly providing the best tea in town - not to mention the best biscuits, you know, and the best little sandwiches - and then She comes. Suddenly everyone has a tea shop, you know. And the price of tea goes up, and they get more and more exotic. And there's not much i can do about it, you know. For me, it is my livelihood, but for those others it was a hobby, a way to ingratiate themselves, something to sink extra coin in to.

And then the fallout! The mobs! The many visits by the Constabulary and the Inquisitors! I constantly had to trot out all my tax information stretching back thirty-plus years, because of course they hadn't most of that information on file after the town hall was burned down. It seemed every flounce wishing to save his own skin wanted to finger my place, me, so that they'd suddenly appear Good and Righteous and Good and Proper Citizens - the name-calling, the vandalisms - what an awful time. My nerves, Miss Ellie, and the business, have still not quite recovered from it all."

"I can see that, my dear. You are quite flustered. Please, here, your fan - have a sip - do not think about it."

"Oh. My goodness. Thank you, Miss Ellie. I apologize. As I've said, it has been a little difficult to recover from all that. No one is quite interested in bringing in good teas anymore. I must order it specially, and they come in little crates. Just the other day I was speaking to Widow Temma about the issues I was having about these crates. Quite boring things, Miss Ellie. They make them out of this sort of brittle wood, and I am having a horrible time with rodents and rot. As I was speaking to her, this gentleman - have you noticed him? He looks as if he should be down in the docks. Odd little fellow, only he's not so little at all. He takes his shoes off but keeps his hat on."

"Why, yes, I do believe I've seen him here. He looks as if he should be at that Broken Dagger rather than here."

"Indeed, indeed. Well, he was there, and he quite suddenly offered to do something about that. 'Well, and what did you have in mind?' asked I, because of course I was certain he would ask for payment, and also - of course - what could he do about it? Unless he's a mouser of some sort, or a rat-catcher, or maybe he's some sort of cooper. I do believe he didn't want to answer, but Widow Temma did have to leave, and he seemed more willing to speak then.

That's when he told me, Miss Ellie. Said he knew a bit of wizardry, you see, and he could do a bit of work in the store-room to send rats away and keep out the damp. Keeping it secret, of course - and you keeping it secret, of course . And I asked him, I said, 'Well, and you look like no wizard to me, and anyway how much would this sort of thing cost me?' And he said, 'Well, and nothing, except silence, sandwiches, and tea'. He said he was partial to the sandwiches and tea, Miss Ellie, and didn't want a clipped copper.

Well, I was intrigued. A little frightened. I suppose I ought to have reported him to the Inquisitory, or maybe I should, but I really am very desperate. What else am I to do? Teas are all I know, teas and sandwiches, and every last coin I have is tied in my shop. So i said yes.

What was I expecting? Well, I was expecting him to go into the storeroom, wave his hands, maybe say some words. I was half-expecting nothing at all. He could certainly be a charlatan. But what would it cost me? A bit of sandwiches, a bit of tea - he didn't even want the expensive teas, he specifically wanted the Pelagic Black - but that's not what he did at all. He came back at Midnight. Midnight! And when I saw the sword --

Well, it wasn't what I thought. He used the sword, Miss Ellie, like a wand. Isn't that so very strange? First he set out candles. Then he sat in the store-room for a good hour, saying nothing, doing nothing, with the sword across his knees. He asked, then, what time it was, and I told him; I must admit I was very timid at this point. Then he got up, Miss Ellie, and stood fancy as any fencer, though the sword was a good bit heavier. Only then did he begin to do wizardly things. I'm not entirely sure what. I saw that mage-man from Thessilane, and he began a fire with a snap of his fingers. This wasn't like that. It took such a very long time, the man drawing and pointing with his sword. It was all so terribly dull, Miss Ellie, and I can tell you I have no real wish to have such magic done again.

At dawn he finally appeared to be done, and he did seem very tired. I got him some tea, of course, and some sandwiches, and soon he was on his way. Did it work? Well, it has been two weeks and I've had no trouble at all. And I've experimented a little, Miss Ellie, yes I have. I've placed some sandwiches in there and I have left them for five days. And do you know? Not only had nothing touched them, but its as if I had just made them!"

"Oh, my, my dear. This is quite a lot. Magic... I don't know. Perhaps you should speak to the Inquisatory..."

"Oh, I know, Miss Ellie. But what can I do? I did promise, after all."
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